For Your Information

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Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT)
English language website
Japanese language website

According to NHK 1 TV news report, on 1 July 1999, NTT officially broke up into four entities as follows:

NTT (umbrella for other three and responsible for research & development)
NTT East (local calling)
NTT West (local calling)
NTT Communications (domestic long distance and international calling)

The original Nippon Telegraph and Telephone government monopoly was privatized in 1985.

Information pamphlets in English:
If you go to an NTT office you can get the "Guide for Telephone Service in Japan" last published in English in March 1997. It is already a bit outdated, but it still contains some good information. I think they may send it to you if you request it by telephone, but I haven't personally tested this.
There is a multi-lingual pamphlet available called "Caller ID Display Service/Caller ID Announcement Service" published June 1998. It repeats the same information in Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish.

Phone directory in English:
NTT Townpage (you can get your free copy by sending a fax with your request and your address to (03) 5444-0918) There are two editions, one for Eastern Japan (includes Hokkaido down to Nagoya) and one for Western Japan (includes Osaka down to Fukuoka). As a telephone directory it is fairly limited as far as private and business listings are concerned, but it has a wealth of information in it, and contains a fairly comprehensive listing of government phone numbers. If you live in the area covered by the West Japan edition but want a copy for East Japan or vice versa, you must pay JY2000 + postage for it. Currently March 1998 is the edition available. The next edition is due to come out in October 1999. Business lines can get listed for free. Private lines have to pay for a listing. (The alphabetical residence listings comprise a total of 6 pages (!) front and back in the Eastern edition and are up-to-date as of November 1997).
There is also an English yellowpages put out by another company. It costs JY2000 plus JY100 tax (5%). It comes out twice a year in the spring and in the fall. The most currently available issue is dated Spring 1999.
Japan Yellow Pages Ltd.
ST Bldg. 6-9, Idabashi 4-chome
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0072 JAPAN
tel: (03) 3239-3501
fax: (03) 3237-8945
e-mail: yellowpage@yellowpage-jp.com
homepage: http://www.yellowpage-jp.com

(March 25, 1999)
Many NTT offices are closing recently. There is a major re-organization going on. NTT will be divided into some different companies soon (about July 1999) due to de-regulation of the telecommunications industry. Currently there are about 38 NTT offices in the Tokyo 23 wards, or about 60 in the "Tokyo-to" metropolitan area (which includes 25 additional cities such as Hachioji or Fuchu). There are also a number of special NTT DoCoMo shops which are not the same thing as an NTT office. The best way to find the most convenient location to you is to call NTT English information at the toll-free number: (0120) 364463 They gave me erroneous information, however, which cost me some money and a lot of time (though I got a nice apology letter which they sent express mail!), when they gave me instructions on how to find the Ochanomizu office on 24 March, although it had been closed since the end of December 1998. Ask them to call the branch and make sure it is still open.

The following NTT offices (in Tokyo) are the only ones that I have an address for, and none of this information is guaranteed over the next few months:

NTT - Ikebukuro (Tobu side) tel:0120-729116 Toshima-ku, 1-11-1 Nishi Ikebukuro, 9th floor - Metropolitan Plaza Building

NTT - Kanda/Awajicho tel:0120-896300 Chiyoda-ku, 2-16 Kanda Tsukasa-cho Hours: 10:00-17:00

NTT - Nerima station tel:0120-759116 Nerima-ku, 5-24-11 Toyotama-Kita Hours: 9:00-16:00

NTT - Ochanomizu (close to Nikolai Church & School) CLOSED but the telephone book library is open (if you can read Japanese!) Chiyoda-ku, 1-6 Kanda-surugadai Hours: 10:00-17:00

NTT - Sengoku/Sugamo tel:0120-819116 Bunkyo-ku, 1-6-12 Sengoku Hours: 9:00-16:00

NTT - Shibuya tel: 0120-659116 (East side) Shibuya-ku, 2-12-3 Shibuya Hours: 9:00-16:00

NTT - Shinjuku tel:0120-697116 Shinjuku-ku, 1-22-14 Nishi-Shinjuku Hours: 10:00-17:00

Transfer of an NTT Phone Line to New Ownership
Transfer of phone line processing fee JY800 + 40 tax = JY840 (either buyer or seller can pay this or split it)
The balance due on the line transfers to the new owner. They do not separate itemization of a bill at the transfer date between old owner and new owner. So either the new owner should make sure the line has a zero balance before taking possession of it, or the old owner and the new owner should make some agreement regarding the balance. Also, NTT has a hard time giving a current amount due. Their accounting methods are not set up to accommodate such a question. They can tell you if there are any old unpaid bills.
Reconnection fee is minimum JY2000 but can go up to JY10,000 if the new location requires new wiring or something.
Phone lines can be purchased from NTT directly. This is the most expensive and inconvenient (it is always best to avoid going to an NTT office) way. (approximately JY75,000)
They can also be purchased from a "broker", who would be your local telephone shop or someone like BIC Camera. Often you then have to buy your telephone there. This is a safe way but still expensive.
They can be purchased from another person who is leaving Japan. This is a little tricky, in that you have to meet and maybe even go to an NTT office together. If neither of you speaks Japanese, this can be a tedious process. However, usually it is over in about one hour, and you are happy because now you know that when it is your turn to leave Japan, you will get most of your investment in a phone line back when you put your phone line up for sale. As a foreigner your passport, or foreigner identity card and your signature is adequate identification. You do NOT need a special signature certificate notarized by your embassy.
There have been rumors that the price of a line directly from NTT soon will fall drastically for about 2 years now. This may have been started by the de-regulation beginning to shape up. I have no idea how much truth there is to them. But this has caused the re-sale price to drop from around JY65,000 when I first came to Japan in 1992 to about JY45,000 now (1999).

NTT phone bill savings: (11 Jan 1999)
I called NTT English information today at 0120-36-4463. They told me about two new discounting services that are not included in the latest Townpage English phone book (March 1998 edition):
1) Telechoice 30 -- for 100 yen a month you can choose an area code and receive 30% discount 24 hours a day on all calls made to that area.
2) TimePlus -- A new service ups the number of minutes for the normal 10 yen charge to initiate a call, on local calls. It costs 200 yen per month. Daytime you get 5 minutes instead of three for 10 yen, and nighttime you get 7 minutes instead of 4 for 10 yen.

OTHER POSSIBILITIES:
NTT allows a phone line rental for only one month with a 100,000 yen deposit.
You can rent for a minimum 3 month contract from a company called "Rent-a-phone" (NDS - Nihon Denshi Setsubi, formerly known as "Hello Telephone") which is affiliated with Japan Telecom (JT), if you are going to use the line for personal use only. "Call-back" service is strictly prohibited and you are obligated to make a minimum of JY10,000 every three months in international calls using 0041 or 0045 (JT). You are also obligated to use the JT access number for long distance calls within Japan (0088). However the rental is very reasonable at JY2,400 for three months and JY800 for each additional month. There are the usual connection(JY2,000 - 10,000 depending) and disconnection (JY2,100) fees charged by NTT and of course the usual monthly service charges from NTT. There is no deposit and no guarantor is required. Toll-free number 0088-228188 (in Osaka).

International Calling Options:
The four major international telecoms are KDD (Kokusai Denshin Denwa), JT (Japan Telecom - formerly ITJ/ International Telecom Japan), IDC (International Digital Communications) and KDDI (was DDI - Daini Denden Incorporated). The first three offer a bewildering variety of "calling plans". DDI probably has the best rates for just a straight call (without getting bogged down in the special plans that all incur a fixed monthly fee). There are also a huge array of options available for international calling from call-back to calling cards to internet phone. It's a huge topic too large to cover here. Most of these options are well advertised in the media.
To access international routing for a call from a regular home phone just dial:
001 (KDD)
0061 (IDC)
0041 (JT)
0078 (DDI)
before the country code. The bill will arrive in the mail!

KDD - inquiries about making an international call dial toll-free 0057; inquiries regarding bill dial toll-free: 0120-001-392
IDC - inquiries 24 hours dial toll-free: 0120-03-0061
JT - inquiries 24 hours dial toll-free: 0088-41
DDI - inquiries 24 hours dial toll-free 0077-778

DDI also offers domestic long-distance calling at about a 20% discount of NTT's rates. Dial 0078 in front of the domestic phone number.

This Wikipedia page explains the phone numbering system in Japan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%2B81

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